Thursday, March 14, 2013

Adventures in Storytelling

I signed up to do the Scintilla Project this year. Maybe you've heard of it. It's a two-week storytelling blitz run by three lovely bloggers who provide a pair of prompts every day.

Given how much my writing has stagnated lately (I'm averaging 3 posts per month so far this year), I decided I could use a kick in the pants. I've always been hesitant to use blog prompts, but this is sorta different. It's short-term, and it's more of a community project than me relying on someone else's ideas to churn out some content. I had started to build a fantastic writing habit back in January, but as soon as that class ended, I was suddenly very, very stuck. More stuck than I was before I'd started. I think maybe I caved to my own self-doubts and fears and instead of writing something just to get me by, I wrote... nothing. My biggest problem is just getting started. The getting started part is my kryptonite.

My other problem is that during that class, I saw a glimmer of potential in myself, I convinced myself that if I worked hard and kept at it, I could actually be a really good writer. You might think that's a good thing, but it's not. Because now I'm hung up on wanting everything to be perfect and polished, which, let's face it, it never has been, but I think I unconsciously raised my expectations of myself, and I'm too busy fretting about not meeting my own standards that I'm not doing anything. Not trying is failure by default. I think I saw a quote that said something like that, probably on Pinterest.

So: here we are. Lots of fretting and ignoring my blog and my notebooks and not doing any writing at all and spending most of my time thinking about how I'm not writing but not rally moving much beyond that.

But I can't just not write. It's wired in to me. About halfway through my last dream of the night last night, I started narrating the dream as if I was writing it. If I was more coherent in the morning, I probably could have had the start of a story on my hands. (The annoying thing is that I actually do this somewhat frequently, and every time, I get irritated at the thought of having to write it all out "again" once I wake up, because I already did that, geez. Except I didn't, because I was ASLEEP, and Dream-Kelly was the one "writing" it. It's kind of like when you dream that you're getting ready in the morning and then you wake up and you realize that you were dreaming and now you have to get up and shower for real this time and do it all over again. That happened to me a lot in high school. It was awful.)

Back to my point: I need to get over whatever it is that's making me Not Write, and Start Writing. Which is why the timing of this is pretty perfect, and when Dominique poked all of us BiSCuits to sign up, I hopped aboard.

Of course, I'm two days behind at this point, but the party don't start til I walk in. Just kidding. The party started yesterday and just like in real life, I'm the asshole who is late.

Part of the problem, though, is that I'm struggling with the prompts. I don't really feel like I have any good stories that match the prompts, and not because I'm all writer-blocked, either. My life is just utterly devoid of stories for those specific scenarios. Even so - I managed to answer almost all of the prompts for TPOW, so if I could dig deep for those, I can do it again, right? I hope so, or I'll turn into the asshole who signed up but didn't participate.

Ah, well. Tomorrow is another day. That's another quote that I heard somewhere once. Except I'm pretty sure I heard it long before Pinterest, back when I had to walk uphill both ways to wherever I was going, barefoot, in the snow. (There's always snow when walking up a two-sided uphill hill).

We'll see what happens, I guess.

Wanna play? Sign up here! See who all is participating here! I'm listed last because I'm cool and start my blog name with punctuation! Whee! 


Casey Palmer said...

I find that I have much of the same problem with perfectionism, but far more toward taikoring the message so that it conveys EXACTLY what I want rather than trying to attack it at a technical level.

I think I suspect that you might fall in the same boat!

My advice is just to hammer stuff out. It's taken a decade for me to get to the point where I can take a notepad and pen, get an idea and write something out that I'm REALLY happy with, but I'd never get there if I never wrote.

Go forth. Write for Scintilla. IMPRESS YOURSELF.

And never look back!!!

Kelly L said...

Don't give up quite yet. I definitely feel you on the "I don't have any good stories related to these prompts", but if you just dig deep enough in your memories, you might find something.
I am not going to have the most epic stories of the bunch, but they might still be entertaining to some degree ;)

Kelly L said...

Girl, I *wrote* some of the prompts (and have obviously been seeing them for weeks) and have a difficult time digging for stories for them. I FEEL YOU. I have said for the past two days, "nope, got nothing", but then, something came out. And yes, what San said is important - it doesn't have to be the Most Important story ever. Also, play with it a little - like, if you have to twist it a little to make it work, go for it. <3 - I'm so happy to see you participating.

Kelly L said...

I have stuffs now! I actually have at least 3 written out by hand that I need to type up, and I'm quite pleased with myself for overcoming that slump. I've been enjoying reading other people's stories so I best get my booty in gear and post my own!

Kelly L said...

Something > nothing. I'm on it!